"When the viola was opened recently, it was clear that the upper linings were considerably lower than the bottom set. It is fairly certain that the ribs were not actually made to this height by Stradivari, but were planed down within the first hundred years of the instrument's life."
Camilli's creation, John Dilworth, Orpheus, London, 1996
"Count Cozio di Salabue (1755 - 1840), the collector and historian of the violin-family, noted that the ribs of this viola were unusually low and commented that this may have resulted in a restricted tone. The side view of the Archinto shows the comparatively low ribs combined with high arching to give a full, rounded profile. The sound has been characterised as warm, sonorous and penetrating."
Museum & Collections - What’s on - Royal Academy of Music
"Apart from the modern neck, the only real disturbance the viola has suffered is to the ribs. They are relatively shallow, a fact noted by the violin collector Count Cozio di Salabue early in the XIXth century. It is obvious from the condition of the interior that some four millimetres has been removed from the upper edges of the ribs, presumably at the whim of an earlier owner."
Antonio Stradivari - Catalogue of the 2008 Exhibit in Montpelier, Peter Biddulph, Frédéric Chaudière & John Dilworth, Musée Fabre / Actes Sud, Montpelier, 2008
Count Cozio's notes, October 29, 1816: "I have seen the viola made by Antonio Stradivari with genuine label by the maker dated
1696. It was owned by Count Carlo Gambara of Brescia, but now Count Archinto of Milan bought it for 106 luigi through Serafino Trivelli, musician from Brescia.
Description: Generally speaking it is an excellent work in XVIII century style. Red varnish, already worn in many parts because it was played a lot. It is a C.V. model, that is the model made expressly for the Grand Duke of Tuscany on October 4, 1690 - the drawing of the top of the viola owned by Nobelman Carlo Carli, and made by Giuseppe Guarneri, is at the back of paper 52. The purfling is right on the sides, in other words including the purfling in the measurements of the instrument we have the right size; the edges cover the sides, as well as the distance from them.
The sides' height has been reduced as follows: at the neck block it is 1 polici, and 2 ponti; at the end block it is 1 polici and 3 ponti. So the sides have been already lowered of almost 2 ponti. . . . The bass bar was already badly changed. . . .
One-piece back, fine but not too wide grain [...] with two dowels in the purfling to fasten it to the blocks. . . .
Francesco Mantegazza told me that he saw the instrument at [the residence of] Mr. Rolla Alessandro as soon as it reached Milan. He listened to it; its voice was good, but not of a great quality. . . ." (pp. 268-269)
Memoirs of a Violin Collector: Count Ignazio Alessandro Cozio di Salabue, Brandon Frazier, Baltimore, 2007